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Director weekly highlights 18 December

Nicholas Evans, Outreach

Date: 15 December 2020

This will be the last Weekly Update for 2020. Because we will be closing down our operations over the summer, to give our professional team a break that is even more well-earned than usual, the next one won’t go out until Jan 22nd. During that time I hope each and every member of our community will get some down-time after this viscerally exhausting year. It’s sometimes said, in studies of imperatives and hortatives, that they can only have present and future semantics, but let’s put that to the test: may 2020 have been the hardest year of our lives!  

So much has thrown us off course, from bushfires to Covid, from scrambling into the Zoomocene and a withering of face-to-face spontaneity, to young families juggling time and screenspace in cramped quarters, to concerns about getting theses or postdocs done without the fieldwork that had been planned, from the claustrophobia of lockdown to the loss of loved ones without being able to sit by their bedside, and so much more that has been painful or stressful. Mixed in with that has been much else for us to seize on and not forget – rediscoveries, of calm, of social cohesion, of cooking and gardening and hobbies, the creeping back of nature, the reminder that linguistic justice as the guarantee of equitable access to health information is even more important than we had thought, the opening up of global communities of scholarship through a range of online conferences and series and seminars. So please take time out, forget what needs forgetting, and develop what needs remembering into that perspective a new year brings. 

But more than that I would like to congratulate you all, the whole CoEDL community, on the absolutely extraordinary resilience you have shown through this incredibly difficult year. So many resourceful and compassionate ways of getting round obstacles, so many new solutions, so many ideas. Each week this mailout has been bursting with initiatives and achievements and I will not repeat the year’s highlights here – they will go into our annual report. I would just like, quite simply, to express my admiration for the energy, creativity and care for others that has kept all our spirits up by seeing how much kept happening, and to thank you all for that. And I’d also like to thank our extraordinary CoEDL team for working so hard, harmoniously and generously to keep everything going. 

Among all the congratulations below, I would like to signal one very special one: the appearance in the field’s foremost journal, Language, of the paper by CoEDL PhD Lesley Woods with Alice Gaby of Monash: "Toward linguistic justice for Indigenous people: A response to Charity Hudley, Mallinson, and Bucholtz". This is a fabulous step forward for CoEDL’s goal of bringing more Indigenous linguists into the field, at the highest levels.   

As in every week, you will find another cascade, of congratulations, of talks and seminars, of jobs and PhD opportunities happening in our community. Meanwhile get some true time out with your families, friends and loved ones.    

Nick Evans 


  • Australian Government
  • The University of Queensland
  • Australian National University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • Western Sydney University